Monday, May 16, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
How is everyone today? Alright? Good. Glad to hear it. Me? Well, I'm carved from one flawless slab of sheer awesome, as per usual. So that's cool. All is right with the world. Speaking of how badass I am, shall we recount my exploits?
So this week has been... wet. Really wet. We are still working our way out of the rainy season over here, and it seems intent upon holding sway for as long as meteorologically possible. It could be a while. Not that rain is bad. It's keeps the island green and gorgeous, but it does begin to wear thin after a bit. I want to go out! I need SUN!
All that being said, Oahu rainstorms really aren't the worst thing to be in. It's still slippah weather, people just use umbrellas. It's the funniest thing to see. Flip-flops, shorts, Aloha shirt, and a big clear umbrella. I really didn't expect to see this much umbrella utilization here. Hawaiians must really not know what rain is like on the Mainland. It blows, in case you guys have tried to forget that. It's cold, angry, and all the time. Hawaiian rain is like having a girlfriend get really mad at you for twenty minutes and then forget completely what the argument was over, only to have it restart an hour later.
Being inside, we've been getting crafty in the kitchen:
Monday night's dinner was a delicious Thai green curry with scallops, squash, peppers, eggplant, and all kinds of delicious on a bed of jasmine rice. Incidentally, it was so delicious and scrumptious, and I so hungry, that no photographic evidence exists. Confound it all!
But you are in luck, because this is what Tuesday had in store:
No, your eyes do not deceive you. Yes, that is the return of Taco Tuesday. We brought it back in a new locale with a slightly retooled, but still just as stellar, cast. It's like May sweeps! By the way, there were six other tacos just like the ones you see there, all bursting with avocado. What is different about Hawaiian Taco Tuesday, however, is all that avocado came from half of a single avocado. This may seem crazy, until you see what avocados are like over here.
Yes, that is one avocado.
Tuesday still strong in our bellies, how would Wednesday match up?
With sushi, of course. At the Haleiwa farmer's market, we picked up some fantastic ahi for a song. It was stupid cheap. I don't want to tell you the price, because you'll hate me. Just know that it was awesome.
Awesome enough to make that much sushi. And then a batch of spicy poke for the next night. We eat like kings over here. Seither Ali'i!
Now, for the journey:
This week's travels brought us yet again to North Shore. It's definitely becoming our Sunday thing. We woke up, had some DAMN good coffee (sorry, we're watching Twin Peaks right now), fitted the Jeep with windows, and headed up Kunia Road toward Haleiwa. We got some great stuff at the market this week (five avocados!) and then headed over to Matsumoto's for some shave ice. I know I sound like a broken record over here, but it's really hard to beat perfection. Slow kine life is best kine life.
Shave ice in hand (melona and coconut with snow cap - fucking ONO), I walked around town for a bit. Leandra and Gabriel sat in the Jeep to get out of the rain, but I had things to do. Also, I needed to stretch my legs. I'm really glad I did, because I got to check out this really cool church/graveyard.
I expected interesting just from that entryway. It just really screams Hawaii to me. Overgrown and covered in red dirt. It was a super cool graveyard. It was mostly filled with native Hawaiians, many dying in the time before statehood. It's always humbling to "read" headstones. There's no other situation where dates can tell such a story. No verbs needed.
This one broke my heart. Just looking at the numbers, you know exactly what happened. I ached when I saw this. Cherish the people around you. They matter.
A full day on North Shore complete, we headed back for the domicile. But what is this we had waiting for us?
Oh, shit, guys. That looks like a ping pong table.
It totally was a ping pong table waiting for us! And when I say waiting, I mean I stayed up to 2AM the night before putting it together and then woke up at 8:30 to finish it up. So it was waiting in the sense that is wasn't doing anything while we were gone.
But everybody, ping pong is awesome. SO COOL. This is the new thing. You should all have one. It's a great addition to the lanai.
Alright, I think that makes a solid post. I better get to sleep, I have to cover for somebody at work tomorrow. As always, please kokua one to another.
Monday, May 2, 2011
I won't talk about bin Laden being killed. We've all heard the news. The commentary is already in full swing, and I'll leave that to go where it will. Rest assured, the nuance of the actual assassination event isn't what I'm concerned. We'll just leave it be.
I cannot, however, leave the press conference alone.
Really? You couldn't get your teleprompter and camera in the same spot? Not even remotely close? Come on, you're the President of the United States of America. Public access channels can get this right!
Though sometimes we really wish they didn't.
And what is up with 'Ol Honest Abe being at a perfect right angle to him? It feels like they're posing for an 80s album cover.
The next Mount Rushmore
Some other feeds I've seen have him looking dead on, so couldn't the official White House release have looked like something other than a community college video news update?
Kay den: to the fun stuff!
Another week has come and gone on Oahu. I got a bit of a promotion at work, so that's nice. Yay for inch by inch! Aside from that, we continue to settle in to our new apartment. It's awesome. I can nap whenever I want! You never appreciate that until it's taken away from you. Delicious naps. Mmmm.
As for food, it's been ONO! We're getting used to using the prevalent Hawaiian ingredients more and more. They are so good. If you do not already, start using furikake. It's a Japanese condiment used for rice. It's comes in a few different styles, but my favorite, and the most popular, is roasted nori and sesame seed: nori komi furikake. It is the best thing that has happened to rice since water. Get on that
Seriously. Rice, furikake, fried egg, sriracha, and shoyu.
Chopsticks are rapidly rising through the ranks of my favorite utensil. They are perfect for how lazy I like to be at the table.
We've been finding all kinds of fun stuff for pau hana (after work), too. Like poker.
Which Gabe cheats at.
This week's big adventure is... wait for the HUGE surprise... North Shore! I know, I know... "You go to North Shore all the time, don't you do anything else, etc..."
2: Can you blame me?
It's just wonderful out there. Today Leandra and I (Gabe's been in the Bay for work) drove up Kunia Road to the Haleiwa Farmer's Market. What a time we had!
We found huge, delicious, and perfectly ripe avocados. And from the Islands, no less. I would have more pictures of the market, but my hands were too full of delicious produce and goodies. I can't wait to dig in to my bounty this week! The market is pretty cool, though. Aside from the avocados, we got some tomatoes, herbs, sweet potatoes, local whole wheat bread, salad greens, and some nice ahi steaks. Truly Gaea is showing her aloha side. Mahalo nui loa!
After the market, we decided to walk around Haleiwa. It's really a gorgeous, quaint little spot. Our first stop, naturally, was Matsumoto's Grocery.
Shave ice time! Lilikoi, melona, and mango, with a snowcap. Absolutely baller! Matsumoto's is probably the most famous shave ice spot in Hawaii. It started off as an actual grocery ages ago, but the shave ice became so famous and profitable that now it's really just an ice stand and a store of trinkets about said ice. More than a tad touristy for me, but you gotta pay the bills.
From Matsumoto's, a quick stroll down Kamehameha Highway will land you at the Ron Artis family gallery. Ron Artis is a local artist that does big outdoor paint pieces. Murals, old houses, barns, vehicles, that sort of thing.
As you can see, he specializes in awesome. There's a little gallery/music venue/bar inside, but pictures are not allowed inside. Just come and see it yourself. You'll have a blast.
And, yes, those fruits and veggies we picked up are being put to good use.
Locally-baked organic whole wheat bread, pan toasted and drizzled with olive oil. Prepared as an open face sandwich of avocado, tomato, basil, and spring onion. Finished with olive oil, sea salt, and balsamic drizzle. Served with peppery spring mix in vinaigrette. Pair with sweet mint noni tea and you've got a perfect evening meal.
Finally, we have new additions for the "stuff that is had" list:
Living room set:
It's coming together, yeah? Well, I figure that wraps up another good post. Please kokua one to another.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Or was it?
I figure since it's been so long, I'll do a double post. This will get everything up to date on what's going on with me over here while sticking to my new schedule and still not having everything in overwhelmingly large chunks.
So after I left the girls on Sunday, I headed home to big things. Like new apartment things. Check it out!
So that's cool. And I actually have a bed to sleep on now!
That's right, I'm a proud new owner of a big inflatable bed. It's a Hawaiian transplant classic!
The back fence of our lanai has huge snails.
And our complex has scary huge moths.
And look! we learned how to set absinthe on fire. It makes it so delicious.
Well, that should be pretty good for now. It should give you a pretty good idea of what's going on over on this rock. Look for next week's post on stuff! Like, actual stuff. We're filling the apartment. No more Otter Pop movie parties on the floor with pillows. It's almost like we're actual adults with jobs.
Lots to write about today, which seems fitting, considering it's been a while since last we met. I think I'm also thinking of more a regular schedule for this thing. I think I'll have a better idea come time for tomorrow's, but I think I'll shoot for Sunday night before I go to sleep. That's Monday morning for all you West Coast kids. At any rate, without further ado, let's do the damn thing!
One thing about living in Hawaii is that a lot of us out here are transplants from somewhere on the Mainland. While this is great for having a new culture and vibe to learn from, it does tend to separate you from the lion's share of your friends and family. For some of us, lion's are quite greedy. Such is my case; most of the people I've really come to care about (read: my readership) is at least 2,500 miles away from me. That kind of distance really tends to cut down on dinner parties.
The other side of this coin is that everybody wants to visit Hawaii. Such is our story tonight. My dear friend, the lovely Hanna Song, had purchased, along with her darling coworker, Lauren, had come across an absolutely killer deal for a Hawaiian vacation. Tickets were purchased before I got the job over here, but my forthcoming residence in the North Pacific added a prime shenanigans angle. Oh my.
So Hanna and Lauren picked me up from Ewa on Friday after I got off work. Before leaving, however, Hanna's foreknowledge of Hawaiian cuisine takes over. She must have da ono kine grindz! So we stop in at Genki for some bomb sushi boating. I think we were both out for 10 bucks or less, stuffed the brim. I love that place. In true Hawaiian sushi fashion, it's not crazy fancy, just crazy good. Hanna was a big fan of poke. I think she's actually Hawaiian. After Genki, we popped into Foodland for some apple bananas, salt, and limes. And then 7-11 for some sushi. Remember that, you'll see them again.
Fast forward to the hotel room. Tequila shots are lined up in service of debauchery and all manner of unsavory behavior. Limes and salt laying in wait. ¡Salud!
From there, bars were visited, drinks were had, oceans were traipsed through sans vêtements. You get the idea. And there was the rain. Quite a bit. At 1AM. Walking back from 7-11. But that's an island rainstorm for you. You learn to love them.
With the breaking dawn came a new set of possibilities, which were promptly ignored. Except for Lauren, who woke up at 7 to go to Pearl Harbor (Go Lauren!). Hanna and I chose option B: ignore possibilities and sleep in until 10. Time to Waikiki!
If you've never been to Hawaii, it's hard to communicate how great the beaches are. Waikiki is deservedly famous. It's calm, cool, and very protected. And the sun is perfect. It's really solid for beach naps. I also recommend beach naps whenever possible. It rights the brain.
From Waikiki, we drove east through Hawaii Kay to Hanuama Bay.
See those people down there? That's where I would soon be snorkeling. It was so incredible. We were swimming over gorgeous corals while whole schools of fish floated right by us, exhibiting a proper dose of Hawaiian ainokea spirit. For at least 10 or 15 minutes, we just swam with the same sea turtle and watched him pick at the coral.
After Hanauma, we headed east then north along the coast, driving through Waimanalo and up towards Kailua.
The sand at Kailua is so fine, it's almost like a polish. The precise and matured grains feel like cool, crystallized clouds beneath your feet. And being on the windward side, the greenery just blankets the area. As you can see, Hawaiian moonrises are lovely.
With Sunday morning upon us and the rental car a fond, faint memory, we set off to Manoa Falls.
Wow, that covered a lot. So yeah, we were supposed to take bus number 2 to the... you know what, I'm over it. It took a little longer than it could have, but sometimes that happens. No harm, no foul. We were able to find Chinatown (awesomeness!) and walk through the Manoa neighborhood (pretty cool place!). I call that a win, and if you disagree I will fight you. Strictly fisticuffs.
But it was all worth it! Once the road started to get eaten by trees, we knew we were close.
But we were even closer to shave ice. Delicious surprise! I went with the mango, guava, and passionfruit. In true Hawaiian fashion, I had to get the snow cap. It's when they put sweetened condensed milk over the top of the ice at the end. It lends a luxurious creaminess. So ono!
Our bellies full, we sauntered on through what appeared to be the jungle from Lost.
I was beginning to worry about the Smoke Monster.
And then we came upon it.
I know the iPhone camera doesn't fully capture it, but it's so cool. The forest just has a nature that can't be conveyed without immersion. The sights, sounds, smells, and feelings. So yeah, you should experience that. I highly recommend it. Shoes not required.
We also got to meet Joe and Pepi up there. They were awesome. Joe asked me to take a picture of him and his son, and then from there we just talked story for a while. He told me I was akamai. I thought was pretty rad.
On the way back down the trail, it started to rain. Real Hawaiian rain. While Hawaiian rain isn't usually too bad, it can be a little inconvenient for traveling. In another piece of awesome, a couple from Aiea who were talking with up at the Falls, pulled over to give us a ride. Hella! They would save us like a half mile walk in the rain to our bus stop. Like I've said before, aloha isn't just a bumper sticker here. Sometimes people are rad.
So they (in my excitement I totally forgot their names or to get a picture, just know that they are carved completely from crystallized awesome) drove us to the bus stop, all protected in a shiny truck. And then they just kept going. And asking us where our hotel in Waikiki was. And drove us all the way back. When we offered cash for gas, it was sent back. He just said it seemed like the right thing to do because we were nice people. Have heart, cynics (read: Nathan); the human race has hope yet.
A wonderful weekend in the books, rest was in order.
Monday, April 11, 2011
So my schedule has been kinda all over the place ever since I got here. The combination of telling your boss that you can work whenever he needs you and living on said boss' couch leads in large part to your itinerary being heavily controlled by external parties. And while I don't particularly abhor this, I am eagerly awaiting word on when I can terminate this particular situation (more information to come this week). All that being said, it is so nice to just chill the fuck out sometimes.
As it happens, today was my Friday. I only get one day off tomorrow, but I get Saturday and Sunday off, so I'll take it. Anyhow, after work Gabe and Leandra pick me up and we go to Foodland to get the accoutrements for linguine alla carbonara. Tits! Also, we get beer. Gordon Biersch Spring sampler. Thanks, Maika'i card membership!
For those that don't know, I love carbonara. Love it. It's definitely not the healthiest thing in the world, but I'll be damned if it isn't devilishly delicious, in an almost naughty and shameful way. And it couldn't be easier. First, start boiling up some linguine. Then, you want to dice up some bacon and start rendering it down with a little bit of nice olive oil. The more legit Italian way is to use guanciale(cured pork jowls) or pancetta(cured pork belly), but bacon makes a more than adequate understudy. While the bacon and noodles are cooking, scramble up an egg or two in a bowl (I used three for one pound of pasta) and add shredded Parmesan cheese into it. I use a lot. Yes, real parmigiano reggiano is preferable if you have it, but we're already using bacon, so can please shut that argument up? Thanks. Also, crack a good bit of black pepper into that mix. And make sure you have that done and your bacon crisped and rendered before the noodles are al dente. It's paramount.
With the noodles cooked, drain them (don't rinse. EVER) and add them to the pan with your bacon and olive oil. Keeping the burner off, toss the noodles in the oil enough to get them evenly coated. Then add your egg mixture and toss it in with the noodles. Keep tossing and incorporating. The residual heat in the noodles will softly cook the egg and give the a cheese of creamy sauce vehicle to spread its wonder. Also, bacon is bacon is bacon. Eat this with a nice salad, which Leandra conveniently prepared, and pair with delicious beer. Or wine, if you're in the mood.
Forgive the horrible shot framing, I didn't really give a fuck at the time.
With such a lovely meal, it was nice to sit down and enjoy. Some Bob's Burgers was watched. And a little Family Guy. Lulz were had.
After a little post-meal guitar noodling (pictures of Hawaiitar Mk.I to follow) I'm lounging on the lanai. Having an addict cigarette (Marlboro Gold, it was the best they had at 7-11) really reminds me I need to find a place on this island to buy Shermans. I experience the cigarette in a way the "smoker" world is too nicotine-enslaved to truly appreciate.
I am a match smoker.
It may not sound like a big difference. You may think "Nathan, how you light the cigarette doesn't matter. It's all about getting it lit!" And while I will cede the point about a cigarette fully blossoming after the application of flame, I submit an explication of the application's implications on the enjoyment of said tobacco.
Match smokers take time. The whole Bic culture is just about quickest possible delivery of nicotine to the bloodstream. It's so formulaic. So barbaric. So completely geared to instant gratification. Where's the joy in that? How are you supposed to fully enjoy something if you've had no time to let your mind arouse itself to the idea? Where's the foreplay? Where's the anticipation? I love sex, but I don't just barge right into it. Give yourself time to light that match, smell the slight sulfurous tinge in the nostrils, let the flame settle, and purposefully take those first few prep drags to set that cherry. Then, pull in a deep, smooth ocean of smoke. Let meandering plumes of it trail out your nose. Feel it dance past your lips. The chase had made it all the more special.
Now I suppose my being a cigar smoker has influenced this notion quite a bit, but is that really a bad thing? If you choose to smoke, and I certainly don't make any moral or social judgments either way, just make sure you really smoke it. Fully savor it. If it's gonna kill you, make sure you milked it for all it's worth. For that matter, just go ahead and do that with everything you love. Be fully present. Fully accepting. Fully in contact. Synchronized. Even for stuff you don't like. If you have to do it, it might as well be worth it. Time spent vacant and distant is really only stolen from you.
Until next time, ohana. Aloha!